Los Angeles Angels Employee Tells Investigators He Provided Drugs to Pitcher Tyler Skaggs: Report
"They greatly appreciate the work that law enforcement is doing, and are patiently awaiting the results of the investigation," the Skaggs family's attorney tells PEOPLE
An employee of the Los Angeles Angels reportedly told federal investigators he supplied pitcher Tyler Skaggs with oxycodone before his death.
According to an explosive ESPN report, Angels’ Director of Communications Eric Kay met with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigators and detailed how he provided Skaggs, 27, with oxycodone and abused it with him for years.
Kay told investigators he gave the 27-year-old three oxycodone pills a day or two before the Angels left California for Texas, ESPN reported. Kay also said he did not believe the pills he gave Skaggs were the same the athlete took the day he died because he usually consumed them immediately.
Kay also reportedly told investigators the pitcher did lines of oxycodone in front of him on the night of his death. One line of a substance Kay was not familiar with. ESPN obtained screenshots of Venmo transactions between Skaggs and Kay over the course of two years for amounts between $150 and $600.
ESPN said Kay’s attorney, Michael Molfetta, confirmed the details of his client’s statements that were given in separate meetings with DEA agents in Dallas and Los Angeles in late September.
On July 1, Skaggs was found dead in a Southlake, Texas, hotel room, just two days after he pitched for the team at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California. At the time of his death, Skaggs’ family released a statement to the Los Angeles Times and The Blast in response to the toxicology report, alleging that Skaggs’ death “may involve” an Angels employee.
Over a month after his death, Skaggs’ cause of death was determined to be a mixture of “alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents,” according to a toxicology report and autopsy from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner obtained by PEOPLE.
Skaggs choked on his vomit while under the influence and the death was ruled an accident. There were no signs of trauma, according to the toxicology report.
On Saturday, attorney Rusty Hardin released a statement to PEOPLE on behalf of the Skaggs family following the ESPN report.
“The Skaggs family continues to mourn the loss of a beloved son, brother, husband, and son-in-law. They greatly appreciate the work that law enforcement is doing, and are patiently awaiting the results of the investigation,” the statement read.
Kay also gave investigators the names of five other players who he thought was using opiates while on the team, ESPN reported. However, in a statement released on Saturday by Angels President John Carpino, the team denied Kay’s corroboration.
“We have never heard that any employee was providing illegal narcotics to any player, or that any player was seeking illegal narcotics,” Carpino said. “The Angels maintain a strict, zero tolerance policy regarding the illicit use of drugs for both players and staff. Every one of our players must also abide by the MLB Joint Drug Agreement. We continue to mourn the loss of Tyler and fully cooperate with the authorities as they continue their investigation.”
Skaggs had a blood-alcohol level of 0.122 (above the legal limit of 0.08), 3.8 nanograms per milliliter of fentanyl and 38 nanograms of oxycodone, a prescription-strength pain killer, in his system when he died. The use of oxycodone is strictly prohibited by Major League Baseball.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Skaggs — who was drafted by Angels in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft and traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks — was in his fourth year back with the Angels and had made 15 appearances in total this season, recording a 7-7 record and 4.29 ERA in 79.2 innings.